Bees: Why We Should Protect Them, By Kekechi Deca
Growing up, sights like this were quite common, infact, there were times we witnessed such phenomenal migration on a monthly basis. But not anymore, even in the rural areas, it has become a rare sight. A pointer to something is amiss.
But I think the greater danger is that over 80 percent of adults think that Bees are only important for their honey. Even some do not know that honey comes from Bees.
Migratory Bees have become a very spectacular sight that many in this generation are confused about, due to the fact that Bees are dying off and we have less and less of such occurrences, no thanks to human activities. That we hardly see migratory bees as we used to points to the fact that their population is drastically reducing.
When Bees move from place to place, it is called Swarming. Bees Swarm because of overpopulation in a colony. I forgot to remind us that Bees live together in a large family called a colony of Bees and their house is called a Bee Hive, sounds almost like ours. A full-sized colony at the height of the growing season contains an average of 60,000 individual bees.
Swarming is essential to the bees’ survival. If the hive becomes overcrowded, resources will be scarce and the colony’s health will begin to decline. So every now and then, a bunch of bees will fly out and find a new place to live.
Before moving, they send out scouts who go to explore the area and from reports, they agree on the best place to relocate to. I won’t go into some of the things the scouts are mandated to look out for, but very essential is maintaining a very good distance from their former location; this is because of some of the issues I will tell us later.
During swarming, they do make stops along the way, usually not far from their original Hive. Why they do this has become a bone of contention for experts. Some say that they wait for smaller ‘after swarms’ that may leave several days later, as young queens emerge. It is the old queen who leaves the hive for the emergence of a young queen, and she leaves with around half her workers.
Swarming usually occurs from mid-morning to mid-afternoon, while bearding may occur late in the afternoon into the evening. I forgot to tell us what bearding is. That’s why I don’t like discussing this insect because it is quite a complex animal.
When the temperature inside the hive is high, Bees hang outside the Hive until the temperature drops—which may be quite late in the day. Bearding is a term for bees that are assembled on the outside of the hive during hot weather. The conditions that lead to bearding are high temperatures, high humidity, over-crowding, lack of ventilation or some combination of those factors.
The bees form beards in an effort to keep the brood nest from becoming overheated. If too many bee bodies are covering the brood on a hot day, fanning may not be sufficient to keep the brood cool. To the Bee Kingdom, the brood is everything.
Don’t ask me what a brood is. Ok, a Bee brood refers to the eggs, larvae and pupae of honeybees. Broods are the Raison d’etre of Bees, that’s why they protect it with their lives.
Why are bees so important to our very existence?
It is not the honey as many of you think. The key importance is pollination. This is because bees play a crucial role in pollination, where they use the hairs on their bodies to carry large grains of pollen between plants.
Around 75% of crops produce better yields if animals help them pollinate. Of all animals, bees are the most dominant pollinators of wild and crop plants. They visit over 90% of the world’s top 107 crops.
In other words, bees are essential for the growth of many plants, including food crops. According to one report I read, a 2020 study found that wild bees in the United States were responsible for a significant portion of net income from blueberries.
There is a direct link between the economic yield of farmers and the presence of bees. In 2012, experts estimated that total pollination to be worth $34 billion, with a large portion of this amount due to bees.
Bees also play an important role in the global pharmaceutical industry and other manufacturing sectors. Aside from the wide variety of applications and use of honey, bee wax is essential in many industrial uses. Also, in a 2020 study Trusted Source, scientists found evidence that melittin, a component in honeybee venom, could kill cancer cells.
For history experts, bee products are a key aspect of archaeology Trusted Source. This is because beeswax produces a “chemical fingerprint” that people can assess to identify components in organic residue.
Researchers have suggested that studying the actions of bees could help experts develop emergency plans to evacuate people from an overcrowded environment. Observing honeybee dances can also help scientists understand where changes are taking place in the environment.
So if you are lucky to see a swarm of bees, please do not disrupt them, let them be, if they made a stopover close to your house, the best you can do for humanity is pour water into an open tray or wash basin, put enough sugar in it, and watch them have a party. That energy would be needed to continue their journey.